Advancing biotechnology in the country, some 200 farmer leaders from different regions in the country convene for the National Agri-biotechnology Farmers Congress recently.
The conference theme, "Share the bounty of Agri-biotechnology through mutual coexistence and Responsible Stewardship" highlighted sessions of the conference which include biotechnology updates, golden rice, science communication, Food Safety Act of 2013, and plant biotech.
"We want to let all our farmers know that biotechnology is very useful. Magagamit natin sa pagsasaka dahil ngayon lumiliit na iyong sakahan kaunti lang ang aanihin natin. But the aim of the technology is, sa kaunting lupa, malaki ang aanihin kasi marami na tayong populasyon so kailangan nating magproduce ng maraming pagkain," Philippine Farmers Advisory Board President Edwin Paraluman said.
The activity, with series of interactive lectures on biotechnology, seeks to help farmers' awareness of the challenges faced by agricultural biotechnology. It also aims to enhance farmers’ knowledge on the policy issues, based on the stakeholders' experiences with agricultural biotechnology, and gave farmer-level experiences with biotechnology crops.
Asian Farmers Regional Network Philippines (ASFARNET) country president Reynaldo Cabanao said the conference is much relevant also to the Cordilleras, especially all major type of vegetables are from the highlands supplying Manila areas.
Biotechnology involves any technique that uses whole or part of a living thing to make new products, improve or develop plants and animals.
Potentials of biotechnology include fighting diseases, increasing yield, safer crops, nutritious food, safer crops, environmental friendly, and better industry.
The event highlights include the declaration of support for the application of biotechnology in Agriculture.
"After thorough discussion with the scientists, experts, and farmer resource persons on the various issues confronting Filipino farmers in food production, problems on hunger and poverty as well as the science, safety, and potential and actual benefits of modern biotechnology," stated in the declaration.
"We believe that biotechnology will reduce dependence and indiscriminate heavy use of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals that are harmful to humans, animals and the environment."
Conceived in 2003, ASFARNET-Philippines is composed of farmer-leaders and key stakeholders from 15 regions of the country. Most of the members of ASFARNET- Philippines are adoptors of biotech corn since 2003, and are actively involved in advocating the use of the technology. About 100,000 small-scale Filipino farmers planted biotech corn in more than 350,000 hectares in 2008.